Arizona Football Predictions

The Arizona Wildcats are coming off a promising 8-5 campaign in the second season under head coach Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats had a signature win at home against then No. 5 Oregon and absolutely destroyed Boston College 42-19 in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl. Not bad for a team that was just 1-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less.

It’s easy to assume that Arizona will take a step back with the loss of starting quarterback B.J. Denker and two-time consensus All-American running back Ka’Deem Carey, but there’s those that would argue that this year’s squad is the best Rodriguez has fielded. The Wildcats have 13 starters back and have added in some talented transfers on offense who figure to start right away.

Last Season
Pac-12 (South)
ATS Record
Points For
Points Against
2014 Arizona Wildcats Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
8/30 UNLV
9/7 @ UTSA
9/14 Nevada
9/28 California
10/10 @ Oregon
10/19 USC
10/26 @ Washington State
11/2 @ UCLA
11/9 Colorado
11/16 Washington
11/23 @ Utah
11/30 Arizona St
Estimated Wins: 7.25

The thing you have to keep in mind is that while Denker put up solid numbers last year, Arizona wasn’t in any better shape at the quarterback position prior to last season. Don’t be surprised if they get even better play out of the quarterback position, as USC transfer Jesse Scroggins really impressed in spring practices. The offense also adds in two highly touted sophomore transfers at wide receiver in Cayleb Jones (Texas) and DaVonte’ Neal (Notre Dame). The Wildcats clearly won’t put up the same numbers rushing, but they should be able to move the chains on the ground with 104 career starts returning on the offensive line.

Not only has Rodriguez been able to persuade some big time talent to transfer to Tucson, the Wildcats are rising up the recruiting ranks. Arizona recruiting ranked just 44th over the last 5-years. They are now averaging 38th over the last 3 and just brought in the 31st ranked class of 2014. You have to keep in mind that Rodriguez runs an offense that needs a certain type of player to make it work. Year 3 is when a new coach tends to leave his mark and that could certainly be the case for the Wildcats in 2014.

One of the reasons that Arizona could improve on their win total is that the schedule is a little easier than it was a year ago. For starters, instead of playing 5 games on the road in conference play, the Wildcats have just 4 this year. With that said, they do have a a difficult road schedule that features Oregon, UCLA, Utah and Washington State. However, they avoid having to play Stanford out of the North and should be favored in all but one of their home games (USC). On top of that, they have a favorable non-conference schedule that should allow them to build up some momentum early with a 3-0 start to the year.

Regular Season Win Total
Pac-12 Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
30 to 1
150 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Season Predictions

While I understand why the books have set the Wildcats win total at 6.5, I think they have left the door open for an easy winner. The Wildcats are capable of winning as many 9-games in 2014. Too much attention is being paid to the loss of Carey and not enough on what they were able to add and the talent they have coming back. Assuming Arizona is able to go 3-0 in non-conference, they would need to go just 4-5 inside the PAC-12 to finish over their win total. I have them doing one better and ending with a winning record inside the conference for an overall record of 8-4.

For the same reason that the books have lowered expectations on Arizona’s season as a whole, I look for them to undervalue the Wildcats on a consistent basis when it comes to the spread. I’m confident that if you were to bet every single game on the schedule, you would end up showing a profit at the conclusion of the season. However, I think your best bet is to pick your spots early and see how this team looks in their few games.

2014 Projections
Pac-12 (South)
Pac-12 Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
OVER 6.5
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